Preparing the Nation for Vector-Borne Diseases
A coordinated strategy for vector-borne threats
In 2016, Congress provided CDC with $350 million in supplemental funding to perform the critical work needed to prevent, detect, and respond to the public health emergency posed by Zika virus. The funding is vital to protect areas at highest risk of impact from Zika.
Building on that investment, a strong national infrastructure for vector-borne disease is needed. This infrastructure must advance innovation and discovery, and build comprehensive vector programs.
Advance innovation and discovery
As a nation, we need:
- Cutting edge diagnostic tools for fast and accurate detection of vector-borne infections
- Identification of new and emerging vector-borne diseases and increased understanding of the magnitude of existing vector-borne threats
- Research and development by government, universities, and industry to develop ways to monitor and prevent insecticide resistance and foster new vector control technologies
Build comprehensive vector programs
To build local vector programs, we need:
- A skilled vector workforce that can respond to the full variety of pathogens and the vectors that transmit them
- Robust state and local vector programs with expertise in laboratory, case and outbreak investigation, and vector control that can identify and mobilize for action against existing and emerging threats
- Learn more in the May 2018 issue of CDC Vital Signs and in the National Association of County and City Health Officials report, Mosquito Control Capabilities in the U.S.
Steps being taken to prepare the nation
Currently, DVBD is working on several fronts to prepare the nation for vector-borne disease threats.
Regional Centers of Excellence in Vector-Borne Diseases: In 2017, five universities were established as regional centers of excellence (COE) to help prevent and rapidly respond to emerging vector-borne diseases across the United States. DVBD awarded a total of $48 million to these universities.
The goals of these COEs include:
- Building effective collaboration between academic communities and public health organizations at federal, state, and local levels for surveillance, prevention, and response
- Training public health entomologists in the knowledge and skills required to address vector-borne disease concerns
- Conducting applied research to develop and validate effective prevention and control tools and methods and to anticipate and respond to disease outbreaks. COEs will provide regional capacity to enhance public health prevention and response for vector-borne diseases, pushing technology out closer to sites of potential transmission.
The five COEs include:
- The Northeast Regional COE at Cornell University
- The Pacific Southwest COE at the University of California, Davis and Riverside
- The Southeastern Regional COE at the University of Florida
- The Western Gulf COE at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston
- The Midwest COE at the University of Wisconsin, Madison
Broad Agency Announcements: CDC uses Broad Agency Announcements (BAAs) to seek proposals for conducting innovative research to improve the ability of CDC and its partners to effectively respond to public health outbreaks, conduct research, and perform disease prevention and control activities. In 2017, CDC awarded over $10 million to eight institutions. CDC anticipates that the knowledge resulting from awards will contribute significantly to the evidence base for prevention and control of vector-borne diseases.